What is tummy tuck recovery generally like?

According to Dr. Thomas Pane of Atlantic Coast Aesthetics, many patients worry about the recovery time after a tummy tuck. While answering this very question in a recent Google hangout, he observed that most people find the recovery not as bad as they expect, largely because of the relatively shallow depth of the surgery. Unlike a C-section, a tummy tuck does not go as deep into the muscle, which helps to expedite healing.   With the application of a little common sense, most patients find the recovery for tummy tuck to be relatively easy compared to other cosmetic and surgical procedures and the results to be well worth the discomfort they incur.

Proper aftercare starts with the length of time required to work up to various activities. Contrary to popular belief, Dr. Pane does not normally encourage bed rest after a tummy tuck, simply because restricting activity may retard healing and make the process take longer, as well as being less efficient and effective and increasing the likelihood of postoperative complications. Dr. Pane typically advises patients to begin light activity as soon as possible after coming out from anesthesia, including walking and other forms of light exercise. Eating and drinking can be done as tolerated by the patient, unless there’s some specific medical reason to establish a more restricted diet.

With regards to time off work, Dr. Pane generally recommends 7 days, just to ensure that the drains placed during the surgery can be removed and that there are no medical reasons the patient can’t return to duty. However, he also strongly suggests working up to lifting larger loads, such as small children or heavy boxes. Failure to do this can cause sutures to separate and lead to damage of the area, requiring further intervention to correct.

Dr. Pane’s aftercare starts the day after the surgery, when he usually likes to see the patient and ensure everything is fine. Most patients feel better after day 3-5, but his standard suggestion is that patients not attempt heavier lifting or physical activity until at least the third week after surgery. Generally by week 6, the patient should be ready to resume full physical activity and work duties without restriction, unless a postoperative complication mandates different treatment or handling of a specific patient’s recovery.

Every patient is unique, and these guidelines may not hold true for every person or procedure. Various medical conditions, possible postoperative problems that may develop, certain medications and the patient’s overall physical health are all considerations. Because of this, ACA stresses that results may vary. More importantly, an individual patient’s adherence to aftercare and follow-up guidelines as issued by the surgeon and staff is the best way to assure a smooth recovery.   For this reason, it is imperative that patients understand and follow all postoperative care instructions to the letter, including taking medications in accordance with their labels and avoiding activities as required.

No matter how skilled the surgeon and medical team or how good the patient’s physical condition is, every surgical procedure carries risks including adverse reactions to anesthesia, infections and other potential problems. Some of these problems can be anticipated by open dialogue between the patient and surgeon. Unfortunately, unforeseen issues can and do occur. To reduce the likelihood of problems with recovery and/or the results of the surgery, instructions are issued based both on standard best practices and tailored to the individual patient’s needs. In this way, the surgeon and patient can both be assured that as many factors that may interfere with the healing process as possible are addressed.

Atlantic Coast Aesthetics is proud to feature the talents and skills of Dr. Thomas Pane, a cosmetic surgeon who is double board certified in cosmetic plastic surgery and general surgery. Dr. Pane’s clients enjoy a very high success rate with their procedures and a relatively low incidence of postoperative and recovery issues under his care. To schedule a consultation, visit us at acplasticsurg.com or call us at 561-422-4116. You can also ask Dr. Pane questions during our weekly Google hangouts, during which Dr. Pane will answer questions from Facebook users, Google followers and people who email the office directly. While these answers are general in nature and cannot account for every possible body type or postoperative complication that may arise, you can get a pretty good idea of what to expect from your cosmetic surgery. ACA and Dr. Pane are dedicated to helping you put your best face forward. Please follow or contact us to find out how!


*Individual results may vary

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